The lightly traveled Le Tombeur, Lucian Bute, makes his way to Merry Olde England through Sherwood Forest to the boxing ring of the Nottingham Arena to accept the honourable challenge by the infinitely game and dangerous Carl Froch.
That would be Saturday, May 26th British time. No word on whether the Nottingham sheriff will provide security, but fair to say some of Robin Hood’s Merry Men may swing down from the rafters for voracious support as typical of British fight fans.
Bute’s IBF supermiddleweight title will be up for grabs as well as his unblemished record, currently 12-0, 8 KO as the title holder, and 30-0, 24 KO for his career. I daresay that Lucian Bute sees respect as being up for grabs as well after being repeatedly tarred as a hometown Montreal fighter ducking out on the big fights of the Showtime Super Six tourney.
Lefty in Charge
For the record, Bute was not invited, a serendipitous luck of fate since the tourney was poorly officiated and ended in a fizzle of fan support as Andre Ward was hoisted as their new King.
The Showtime King’s first proclamation was that he wanted no part of Lucian Bute, so it was onward to the always ready to scrap Carl Froch who had Ward on unsteady legs in the final rounds of the tourney.
The First French Connection
Carl Froch is an accomplished slugger who can match most any fighter today with the strongest competition over the past 4 years. Only Glen Johnson might have a shout on him. Normally Froch travels to his bouts, so this a welcome homecoming.
Bute is blessed with the fastest overall combination of hand and footspeed and steadiest balance anywhere near his division, and at age 32 seems to be just hitting his stride as a sharp hitting, sharp boxing lefty who is seldom contested in the ring. Froch will be the best fighter by a long shot Bute has ever faced, but it’s probable that conversely Bute is the best Froch has ever faced.
Froch has shown some very underrated boxing ability in the past, but at his heart he’s a fighter and slugger with good power and stamina, not an easy nut to crack. I look for Bute to fire up the turbines for a smooth flight about the ring as he softens up Froch with his blistering right jab during the tenderizing process.
As likable, credentialed, and game as Carl Froch is, he’ll be only a few weeks shy of his 35th birthday come fight night, so a lot of traditional strikes are against him, but one good shot changes everything in boxing, so therein is his hope. The first French Connection for Froch was his successful splash on the world stage, a hard fought Pascal win where he came on late to seize control of the fight, so he has that positive history.
Bute’s hope is another dominant performance and a superfight against whomever brings the money, but the economics are that Froch is currently the biggest attraction in the division. Bute will have to move up to lightheavy and travel to Denmark to face Mikkel Kessler or go home to face the fast starting, always fading Jean Pascal to match the purse and interest of this fight.
Should be interesting at a technical level at the very least and could be primal at it’s best if Froch surprises Bute with his best ever form.
Not sure what Le Tombeur represents, but Lucian Bute is about as talented a southpaw boxer as you will find in the history of boxing, and at age 31 seems to be in the middle of his formidable prime.
There was much speculation as to why he was left out of the Showtime Super Six tourney, but it turned to be a blessing in disguise. The tourney has been poorly officiated with plenty of fighter hijinks in and out of the ring as postponements continue t0 mount. All the while Lucian Bute has been quietly minting Canadian dollars as the hometown hero and now he is perfectly poised for the 9th IBF defense of his supermiddle title.
Ol’ man Johnson is coming off an emergency replacement stint for the Showtime tourney where he gave a good account of himself, exactly what his growing legion of admirers have come to expect from the toughest fighter of his era. Yes sir, Glencoffe Johnson has been on a roll of sorts since 1999, not by his record, a mixed bag at 15-12-2, but by taking on the toughest schedule in boxing with almost every one of those fighters being Ring ranked if not also #1 and P4P ranked to boot.
Road Warrior @ Work
He does most all of it on the road while giving up most of the other ring conditions as well, so here he is again just 5 months after a brutal bout against one of the premiere sluggers of this era preparing to tangle with Boxrec #1 supermiddle and hometown favorite, Lucian Bute.
How does he do it?
Older fighters often like to play with the old school card, but The Road Warrior is the genuine article and a modest man, so there’s never been a need for him to play it. A concern is that he will be 43 yrs old at the start of next year, and even the toughest man has to call it a day at some point. He did make British slugger Carl Froch work hard every minute of every round in a competitive effort, but Bute is a much trickier, much faster proposition entirely.
There is some hope in those war weary bones though. Even as Father Time is trying to chase him down, it turns out that Glen Johnson will be the toughest, most experienced and the best fighter Bute will have ever faced.
Johnson may be a bit slower than the fighter that ran over Roy Jones Jr, but he still applies relentless pressure no matter if he is winning or losing a boxing match, the kind of pressure that can cause an untested fighter to come unglued.
Bute has been to the well and back against Librado Andrade in a classic fight series, and he’s been on his own roll of 6 straight knockouts over a pretty fair collection of contenders, so this confrontation looks to be a heartstopper on paper since both are fan favorites and one will have to lose.
Saturday, Nov 5 at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City for those who are interested in boxing history in the making.
Another leg of the forgotten Super Six Supermiddleweight tourney takes place on June 4th this Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City when the Old Road Warrior, Glen Johnson challenges Carl Froch for his WBC belt and the right to advance to the finals of the tourney.
This should be a cracker of a fight as the Brits are fond of saying, but alas, is anyone else interested outside the usual boxing fanatics? Hopefully there’s enough boxing fans still left on the East Coast to fill the venue in order to honor the fighting credentials of these gentlemen who are loathe to take a step backwards in the ring and willing to take on all comers, a rarity in boxing these days among the plethora of spoiled belt holders.
In his last outing Froch put on his finest boxing demonstration ever in handling the frustrating style and power of Arthur Abraham. Johnson proved there’s still thunder in those ancient mitts as he knocked out Alan Green who had never been stopped before.
The Fatal Blow
Incredibly, this is 42 yr old Johnson’s 18th year in boxing, and while he has slowed up some physically as to be expected, he is still one of the all time toughest fighters in history and nobody fancies a walk in the park with him unless they are forced to. No surprise that Johnson has logged well over double the fights and rounds of Froch who has become quite experienced in the last few years at the elite level of his division.
Since both are coming off previous performances that were out of character for each fighter, that makes this fight something of a wildcard where anything might happen. Johnson is a pure pressure fighter and Froch thrives at ring center against come forward fighters so there is sure to be plenty of give and take in this donnybrook.
Does Froch have the power to keep Johnson off of him in order to pick him off? Can Johnson get inside to outwork and outbrawl Froch?
I must confess to loving the career of the old Road Warrior, but probably he needs a big knockout to win this fight, and of course Froch has proven to be very durable, so my fear is that Froch’s power may trump Johnson by the fight’s end.
Froch will enter a substantial favorite, but he best be running on all cylinders as this will take a huge effort to derail Johnson who is probably as hungry a fighter today as he was 15 yrs ago.
Time for a Big Shout to rattle the cages of fight fans down Jersey way. Everyone always moans about returning to some golden era of old school fighters, and now two of the best modern throwbacks to any golden era in history are gonna duke it out in your backyards, so, gentlemen, “Let‘s git it on!”
~((BooM))~ The CHAMP:
Como se dice, "Adios, Amigo?"
Sergio Martinez shattered the glass ceiling that has kept him from the pinnacle of boxing by doing the unthinkable, airmailing the concussive force of a single short looping left handed grenade that blasted the immovable, unstoppable Paul Williams straight into dreamless Bolivia. Both were highly ranked in their multiple divisions for some time now and consensus type P4Pers, so this rematch was highly anticipated. The towering Williams come out hard with an evil blood in his eye glint to him as he went about the task of pounding Martinez into dust bunnies. Perhaps the only criticism might be it was too short of a fight with no chance for ebb and flow or drama, but it was a shocking, turnabout type of moment and absolutely the highest level signature KO of a fine bunch for me, one for the ages.
All 2 rounds of the fight here with the KO just after 5:30 mark. There seems to be a sound lag, so you will hear a huge bomb go off with the crowd roaring about 1 second before it happens on the tape.
The Worthy Contenders:
Fernando Montiel TKO4 Hozumi Hasegawa
Fernando Montiel put together a 6 second highlight clip of his career with a stunning left hook that sent the monstrous Hozumi Hasegawa stumbling back to the ropes where Montiel leaped in to snap off a flash combination that caused the ref, Laurence Cole to stop the fight in the last second of round 4. Both highly ranked in their divisions and fringe P4Pers with Montiel stepping up in weight and flying all the way over to Japan to take on a dominant champ who had a string of KO defenses. What mars this bout for me is the poor reputation of the ref, Laurence Cole, who has uncanny habits of terrible timing among many bad habits, stopping what had been 4 rounds of a Hasegawa textbook masterclass performance after 6 of the last 7 seconds that remained of the 4th round. The champ was just starting to recover when Cole steps in, losing the one minute’s more rest time due him.
Longtime Japanese boxing icon, Joe Kozumi, reported alternately that Hasegawa suffered a fractured rib or fractured jaw either in training or during the fight, but, regardless, that was a booming counter left hook that stumbled Hasegawa and a brilliant flash combo that forced the stoppage of the unstoppable. I would also add that had to have been one of the most gentlemanly technical fights fought at such a high level with nary a thing for the ref to do, both showing complete respect to the other for any minor incidents common in lefty/righty clashes. Hasegawa was very tight at the weight and only trying to break the Japanese record for consecutive defenses. He subsequently moved up two full divisions to featherweight to stage a rough tough masterclass over a bigger, stronger, younger undefeated contender for that WBC title in spite of suffering a terrible cut from a butt early on. He must have been really tight at banty to jump 2 full divisions with such a strong performance.
Rounds 3-4 with the final punches just after the 6:00 mark:
Glencoffe Johnson KO8 Alan Green
Put a Knot on Your Noggin That Grandpa Soap Won't Wash Out!
I like that ol’ man Johnson took this bout on somewhat short notice and made a weight he hadn’t been out for a decade and then knocked out a prime contender who had never been stopped. Thing is that Green was coming off a one of the most technical lopsided losses I’ve ever seen against Ward and was not a highly regarded contender, but still, it’s the Road Warrior for the HOF for me. Nobody comes close to his decade long quality of competition, not to mention being well into his 40s and still willing to travel and cede unfavorable conditions and short money just to get a crack at the cream of his division. He’s become the signature ol’ timer of boxing, more so than any of his contemporaries.
All 30 seconds of round 8, a complete carpet bombing:
Wlad Klitschko had 2 stunning highlight reel knock em dead K-Os of Chambers in the last 5 seconds of the 12th and Samuel Peter at 1:22 of the 10th.
The downside is there was no drama of a tough fight or necessity other than Manny Steward challenging Klitschko to stop his methodical beatings and go for it. Still, nobody had ever iced these guys stone cold before, so a combination of being young, highly ranked and rock solid durability type of contenders to be so utterly dominated before the icing, it’s quite an accomplishment in one of the great dominating heavyweight careers.
Entire 12th rd with the KO just after the 3:00 mark:
My complete respect for the poor, unfortunate victims of these bombings. Takes a brave man to enter the ring and risk his physical and emotional integrity to end up on the down side of the latest highlight clip for schoolboys to giggle over, but such is the risk and nature of boxing.
Take out your photoshop shears and saw off the right side from the middle of the above photograph, a scarily eerie sequential grouping portending the fate of this acclaimed elimination tourney launched with much fanfare.
There was hope for all the parties involved, not withstanding expectations of boxing fans everywhere. Oddsmakers quickly put together their numbers and folks lined up on the side of their favorites. Sleeping nationalistic fervors were fired up and internet boxing forums were buzzed as the prefight debates and squabbles commenced.
Even the casual viewing general public stood up to take notice, proving that boxing is not yet dead in the hearts and minds of the larger populace just yet. This was a new world order shaping up the boxing world where 3 Americans and one Dane, Brit, and German apiece were mixed and matched in a dream come true, the best fighting the best.
- The Fates Plot
Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men get dashed so easily in the grand scheme of things once The Fates of Perchance enter the picture.
In perfect sequential order as per the photo, Jermain Taylor, Mikkel Kessler, and Andre Dirrell have dropped out of the tourney citing the bane of boxers everywhere, neurological problems.
Blame meisters are of course in overdrive trying to assign the blame for the collapse of the tourney, but technically, the tourney is still on with replacement fighters Allan Green and Glen Johnson selected to replace Jermain Taylor and Mikkel Kessler respectively.
Showtime should instead be applauded for aspiring to such a grand idea that elevated the worldwide profile of boxing. So what if they fell short because of inherent structural problems involved in organizing a promoter controlled sport of brutal consequences? It was a wonderful learning experience that they can utilize as they launch their new Super Six Bantamweight Tourney.
Nobody is claiming that Super Six tourneys are the solution to boxing’s woes, but it is a nice piece of creative organizing that with a little luck, will open up promoters, broadcasters and boxers to better work with each other for better fights.
There are legitimate criticisms of course, the overriding one being the blatant home favoritism that has seen every visiting fighter losing with the taint of incompetent officials too often spoiling the show. Perhaps, tellingly, the venues have too often turned out to be small potato type hometown low attendance type locales for such a high profile global tourney.
Why are they fighting in Nottingham, England, Oakland, California, and Detroit, Michigan for example? Froch, Ward, and Dirrell have little local following and would be best served up in Las Vegas or London where their names and publicity would resonate more.
And what of the fates of the fighters you might ask?
Jermaine Taylor at age 32 was the first to drop out, but he has had a fine career with great earnings if he chooses to retire. Twelve of his last 13 fateful fights have been against past, present, or future champions. All four of his losses have come in his last 5 fights against prime, very strong, murderous punching undefeated fighters. If not the end of the road for him, the end surely must be near.
Mikkel Kessler followed Taylor, yet started the tourney as the favorite, and at age 31, he’s has had the longest professional career with a record of 43-2. As a 3x champion with great earnings, the end of his prime may be near with him still relatively intact. No sob stories yet, but that’s assuming his eyesight will return to normal.
Andre Dirrell is the latest dropout, a relative novice at age 27 with a 19-1 record. This was supposed to be where his career flowered, but his sole win in the tourney also saw him splattered incomprehensible on the canvas after Arthur Abraham was finished with him. It would be a shame for him, his family, and his team if this was the end of the road. His style is not to take punishment, so it could be that once his chin was finally cracked, the problems will only start to cascade. Every fighter has a limited time, so I leave those decisions to him and his advisors.
Arthur Abraham is still a strong favorite to win the tourney, and at age 30 with a 31-1 record, he’s had a fine career and earnings and seems well poised with the fearsome reputation of having knocked his first two opponents out of the tourney. One could easily imagine him doing the same to Carl Froch in his next bout.
Carl Froch at age 33 started as the elder statesman who has had a fine warrior type of career thus far, but not the big earnings and acclaim he might have hoped for as a British champion. He seems to have been shaken up by his loss to Kessler and perhaps sees the end of his own prime slipping away in the undertow of the tsunami of formidable talent washing over this tourney. We shall see.
Andre Ward at age 26 is the baby of the tourney with a perfect record of 22-0 still intact as Dirrell, Abraham, and Froch have seen the first nicks on their records. Ward has been the biggest winner of the tourney as far in jumping the ratings, but has shown some serious cracks in the façade that still sees him as a regional California fighter with a small following in spite of being the last US Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist. Probably the oddsmakers have him down as the favorite now, but that may change if he is ever pried out of his hometown and forced into a fight under neutral conditions.
Allen Green at age 31 is still waiting for his career to take off. The public was last seen waiting for him to throw a meaningful punch at Andre Ward, and may still be waiting after Glen Johnson finishes with him.
Glen Johnson at age 41 and record of 50-14-1, gives some serious gravitus to the tourney IF he can reduce down to the 168 lb weight limit. He has to be The People’s Choice of the tourney now and truly the pre-eminent road warrior of his era…..Have Gloves-Will Travel.
Insert the next replacement to fight Andre Ward here___________. Showtime is scrambling to find a suitable replacement to carry on. Good luck.
So, perhaps the rumors of the death of the Showtime Super Six are premature, but it’s been a grand experiment, so surely boxing enthusiasts can better appreciate the logistics of making credible fights when so much is at stake.